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Herstappe (Municipality, Province of Limburg, Belgium)

Last modified: 2019-01-14 by ivan sache
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Municipal flag of Herstappe - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 18 July 2005

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Presentation of Herstappe

The municipality of Herstappe (85 inhabitants on 1 July 2007; 1.86 sq. km) is located on the border of the Provinces of Limburg and Liège, in the region of Haspengouw / Hesbaye. Herstappe is the smallest of the Belgian municipalities. Due to its status of municipality with "linguistic facilities" (the official language in Herstappe is Dutch but the use of French is "facilitated"), Herstappe cannot be merged with another municipality of Limburg (because the facilities for the French-speakers, then very very minoritary, would disappear).
The tiny municipal territory of Herstappe represents a small dot in the south of the big municipality of Tongeren.

The first mention of Herstappe is Hastaples, in 1143. In 1351, Herstappe belonged to the Principality of Liège and was ruled by Knight Jean de la Grange. In 1408, Liège revolted against Duke Jean of Brabant and Burgundy (1404-1419). A bloody fight took place in Herstappe, where Jean was confered his nickname of John Fearless (in Dutch, Jan zonder Vrees; in French, Jean sans Peur). The Holy Cross chapel recalls the fight.
John Fearless (1371-1419) succeeded his father Philippe le Bon in 1404. At that time, King of France Charles VI had lost his reason and France was divided between two factions, the Bourguignons (Burgundians), led by Philip le Bon, and the Armagnacs, led by Louis, Duke d'Orléans. In order to link territorially their lands in Burgundy and Flanders, the Bourguignons allied with the English, then at war with France (Hundred Years' War). John Fearless was behind the assassination of Louis d'Orléans in 1407. After the French defeat in Agincourt (1415), John seized Paris in 1418 and attempted to limit the English influence by getting closer to Charles VI. He was murdered by Tanneguy Duchâtel on the bridge of Montereau, a city located on the border between Île-de-France and Burgundy, where he should have met Charles VI.

Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 18 July 2005

Flag of Herstappe

The flag of Herstappe is yellow with a red eagle.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02], the flag was imposed by the Executive of Flanders on 12 May 1992 (because the Municipal Council had not adopted a flag in due time) and published in the Belgian official gazette on 1 September 1992. The eagle is the emblem of the chapter of St. John the Baptist's church in Liège, shown on a municipal seal of Herstappe from the 1§th century. The colours of the flag and arms of Herstappe are also those of Liège.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 18 July 2005